Joliet, IL -- The big news of the past few weeks is that we have thrown down our first 7 second run! And we did it in fine fashion. The NMCA Route 66 event is where Jeff Prock mixed up a potent nitrous cocktail for a nice 7.89 – 177 mph pass. We’ll get back to that later… First, let’s back up a couple of weeks to the Bowling Green NMCA event.
The conditions in Bowling Green were their typical unbearable norm. Low 90 degree temperatures mixed with high humidity made things pretty miserable both for humans and making horsepower. The track was also pretty tricky. Our Camaro basically blazed the tires and black tracked from the starting line to finish line. We threw just about thing we had in the trailer at the car in an attempt to get the thing down the track in a more expedient manner. The result was landing the #4 qualifying spot. Highlights of the weekend include making the MSD Lightning Round with the 4th fastest pass of the 2nd round qualifying as well as finally winning a round of competition. The Bowling Green excursion will certainly help us out in the points chase. Unfortunately, our point gathering came to an end in the 2nd round of eliminations.
What a physical, mental, and emotional roller coaster ride of a weekend! Before you read this, I swear to you that I am NOT making this stuff up. On our first qualifying pass we detected a slight miss in the engine. The run was aborted so as to not do any engine damage. After a pre-round two witch-hunt, we found what we thought was the culprit. For round two, the miss was still there. But this time, it waited until later in the pass to crop up. We furthered our search for the miss, but to no avail. The 3rd round was a complete oddity. This car is so finicky and sometimes seems to have a mind of it’s own. It likes to do things (good and bad) at the most in inopportune times. For some reason the car didn’t leave as it was supposed to. We recorded only a 1.55 60 ft. time. I launched, nothing happened, and all the sudden the car took of like mad, putting on a charge like I’ve never felt. An 8.30 pass was the result. When we examined the spark plugs, we had seven plugs that were ice cold and one that was slightly torched. Here is where things start to get out of control.
At this point, we needed to decide what to do. The engine was only slightly damaged. Should we run it the way it is or fix it? We had a short group meeting with Chuck Samuel and Jeff D’Agostino from Fast Times Motorworks. It was determined that FTM had a few of our pistons and rings still in there possession. Chuck said he would repair the cylinder head and prep a new piston. With the entire effort spearheaded by Jeff Prock of Applied Nitrous Technologies, we then proceeded with removing the engine from the car and disassembling it. At about 11 PM, Chuck was off to the shop with the cylinder head and old piston. In the mean time we prepared for Chucks return by scraping gaskets, cleaning parts and trying to get a little rest. We turned off the lights and compressor and then powered down the generator to conserve fuel for when we really needed it.
The dark silence of the track was a little creepy. As I sat in the darkness, trying to get some sleep, I couldn’t help but think how this was shaping up to be a little like a hurricane. We had the approach of the storm with the removal and disassembly of the engine, the calmness of the eye as we awaited Chuck’s return, and the furious passing of the storm as we thrashed to reassemble and install the engine.
About 3:30 AM Chuck returned and the thrash was on. We worked onward through the early morning hours. At 7:30 AM we had the engine completely reassembled, installed in the car, checked for fuel leaks, and fired. The engine was warmed to 140 and then turned off to aid in silicone in drying. A hasty pit clean up took place and at 8 AM we made a mad dash back to the hotel (that we didn’t get to sleep in) for showers. One by one we filtered down stairs to pillage the continental breakfast bar. With our pockets filled, we piled back into the truck and raced to the track.
When we returned, we made a few pre-race checks and double checks to assure that all of our hard work wouldn’t be wasted.
I then went to the tower to get the final qualifying results and to review the eliminations ladder. Unfortunately, our 8.30 pass was only good for the #11 spot. Even more unfortunate was the fact that there were 20 cars in competition and with the NMCA’s sportsman elimination ladder we would be running the #1 qualifier in the 1st round. If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck at all. No matter. We had come this far and we weren’t going to back down now! We fired the car again and made some minor adjustments in preparation for our tough first round. The car seemed to sound better and feel stronger than ever. The call for first round eliminations was made.
We lowered the car and headed to the staging area. I very slowly drove through the pits and to the staging area, ever watchful of the vacuum gauge. The fear was that silicone wasn’t completely dry yet and that vacuum pump may try and suck it into the engine. Of course, for some reason, the car was now making more vacuum then ever. Remember what I was saying about inopportune times…
We waited forever to make our run. That didn’t bother us though, the longer we waited, the more we were assured that the silicone was dry. It also gave Prock time to give me some new driving instructions.
Finally we got the nod and pulled into water box. Prock gave me the signal and I struck the tires. It felt strong, really strong. I watched the competition burn his tires down the track and waited for him to back up. He rolled forward and staged too quickly, lighting both the pre-stage and stage bulbs simultaneously. He quickly backed out and re-pre-staged. We then finished out staging. I pressed the trans-brake button and matted the throttle. The car slightly hesitated and didn’t go all the way up on the convertor. I was in disbelief. We had just tested this in the pits and again in the staging lanes. It had worked flawlessly, but now it wouldn’t. Typical. The tree was triggered and the race was on. The car launched nicely and felt really good as it progressed down the track. I felt a little disappointed as we sped down the track. The competition appeared to be off his game and going slower than his usual. I was close to him. If I had only been sharper on the tree, if only our car wasn’t spinning the tires, if only this, and only that… we would have beat him. Unfortunately, we were defeated in the first round. After everything we had been through, it did feel good to make a good clean pass from start to finish. My estimates were that we went somewhere in the 8.10 to 8.15 range. I did my post race procedure and headed for ET shack and scales. I looked at the time slip and about fell out of the car. Our competition wasn’t of his game, in fact, he was very much on his game and so were we! Our ET was a smoking 7.894 seconds with a MPH of 177.32!!! The run was so smooth that it just didn’t feel that fast. A 7.894 is good enough to win anywhere… just not today. I was defeated. Our 7.894 wasn’t good enough for his 7.868. Oh well, so be it. Somebody has to lose in each pair in each round. It wasn’t all gloom in Joliet for us. We made the 7-second pass that we have been looking for and as a result, we are the 10th and final inductee into the Flowmaster Super Street 7-Second Club. For those of you who are unaware of it, the 7-Second Club is open to the first 10 Super Street cars to make a 7-second pass. This is a very exclusive club and we are certainly thrilled to be joining it. This was no small task and we have several people to thank for getting us back on the track to make that 7 second pass.
Tim and I would like to specifically thank the following people: Jeff Prock from Applied Nitrous Technologies for being ruthlessly ambitious, and for having the gumption to go for it; Chuck Samuel from Fast Times Motorworks for the late night repair work; Tony & Mike Flosky and the entire Flosky family for all of there unbelievable support through out the night; Todd Betts for his unrelenting efforts and for staying with us through all of that insanity; Dwayne and Jay Ovenshire for all of there support, for documenting the mayhem with photos, and for chasing down food while we wrenched through the night. All of the pictures on this page were taken by Dwayne.
So where do we go from here? We’ll be moving on to St. Louis on August 12 & 13 to get after it again. We’ve now got a great foundation and only bigger things are to come. Keep checking back. We’ll keep you posted with all of the latest developments.
Ted & Tim Pelech
Pelech Bros. Racing